The Rugrats Go Wild

2003, Movie, PG, 81 mins

Review

RUGRATS GO WILD, THE
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The Flintstones and The Jetsons got there first, but the union of popular Nickelodeon cartoons The Wild Thornberrys and Rugrats is still inspired. And while this animated feature's plot plunders survival tales ranging from Gilligan's Island to THE PERFECT STORM (2000) , it's an enjoyable ride. Hot on the idea of togetherness, Rugrats patriarch Stu Pickles (voice of Jack Riley) plans a family cruise for his wife, kids, relatives, friends and even a neighbor's child. But the plan goes awry and they all find themselves shipwrecked on a deserted, cookie-free Polynesian island. The grown-ups go in search of shelter, leaving the toddlers in the hands of imperious tyke Angelica (Cheryl Chase), who promptly proclaims herself "Island Princess Angelatiki." The "dumb babies" — Tommy (E.G. Daily), Phil and Lil (Kath Soucie), Chuckie (Nancy Cartwright) and Susie Charmichael (Cree Summer) — refuse to cater to her whims, so she takes off for a royal sulk. Tommy, a backyard baby with, in Angelica's disparaging assessment, "a diaper full of dreams," decides the way to get off the island and help his father back into the other parents' good graces lies in finding television explorer Nigel Thornberry (Tim Curry), who just happens to be searching with his family for a rare white leopard on this very tropical isle. The fun kicks in when the odd pairings begin: Angelica meets her bossy match in the equally pampered and demanding Debbie Thornberry (Danielle Harris). Worrywart Chuckie unwittingly swaps clothes with Nigel's adopted wild child, Donnie (Flea), and absorbs a little of Donnie's boldness. Tommy finds the man he calls "Nigel Strawberry," but learns that his hero has seen better days. The Pickles's dog, Spike (Bruce Willis), humiliated by the stuffed-up nose that scuppered his efforts to find the lost babies, meets Eliza Thornberry (Lacey Chabert), who can talk to animals. While some of the subplots, like Tommy's bonding with Nigel, seem better suited to the small screen most of this film lives up to feature expectations. The kid-friendly characters are immensely likeable — Phil and Lil's newfound "vegetabletarianism" is a highlight — and inside jokes like Angelica's rendition of "The Morning After" from THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) after the family's boat capsizes, cater to adults. "Odorama," the film's interactive scratch-and-sniff gimmick, made its debut with John Waters's POLYESTER (1981) but is put to good use evoking the pungent smells of stinky feet and peanut butter. leave a comment --Angel Cohn

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The Rugrats Go Wild
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